Village of Ossining, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Establishment and membership. There shall be a Zoning Board of Appeals of five members, pursuant to the provisions of Article 7, § 7-712 of the Village Law, each to be appointed for a term of five years, running from February 3 of the year appointed. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment for the unexpired term. The Village Manager shall designate the Chairperson of the Board of Appeals.
B. 
Upon the expiration of the terms of current members of the Board, the appointment of new members to the Board shall be as follows: one member shall be appointed for a term of one year; one member for a term of two years; one member for a term of three years; one member for a term of four years; and one member for a term of five years. Thereafter, each replacement member shall be appointed by the Village Manager for a term of five years.
C. 
Members whose terms have expired shall continue to serve as members of the Zoning Board of Appeals until the member is reappointed, resigns or a new member is appointed in place of the departing member.
[Added 12-20-2017 by L.L. No. 9-2017]
D. 
A member may be appointed to a maximum of two consecutive terms (10 years). If a member has served for two consecutive terms, that member must be off the Zoning Board of Appeals for one year before applying for appointment to the Board.
[Added 12-20-2017 by L.L. No. 9-2017]
E. 
All members of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be required to attend a minimum of 75% of the board meetings scheduled within a calendar year. Noncompliance with minimum requirements relating to attendance at meetings shall be deemed a proper cause for removal from office by the Board of Trustees.
[Added 12-20-2017 by L.L. No. 9-2017]
F. 
Each member of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall complete, at a minimum, four hours of training each year designed to enable members to effectively carry out their responsibilities. Training received in excess of four hours in any one year may be carried over by the member into succeeding years in order to meet the training requirements. Such training may include programs offered by the New York State Department of State, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Westchester County Planning Department, Westchester Municipal Planning Federation, and such other entities as well as in-house updates or seminars. The Village Manager, after discussion with the Director of Planning and Development and the Chairperson of the Board, shall annually designate such seminars, workshops, or continuing education courses which may be offered within a reasonable distance.
[Added 12-20-2017 by L.L. No. 9-2017]
G. 
The cost for such training sessions shall be a Village charge. Members shall be reimbursed for travel and meal expenses according to Village policy.
[Added 12-20-2017 by L.L. No. 9-2017]
H. 
To be eligible for reappointment to the Board, each member shall have completed the training promoted by the Village.
[Added 12-20-2017 by L.L. No. 9-2017]
I. 
Noncompliance with minimum requirements relating to training shall be deemed a proper cause for removal from office by the Board of Trustees.
[Added 12-20-2017 by L.L. No. 9-2017]
J. 
The Chairperson of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall notify the Village Manager and the Director of Planning and Development in writing on or about December 1 in any year, or at any time if so warranted, of any member who fails to comply with the minimum requirements for meeting attendance and/or training in any calendar year.
[Added 12-20-2017 by L.L. No. 9-2017]
K. 
Notwithstanding the aforementioned attendance and training requirements, no decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be voided or declared invalid because of a failure to comply with the annual attendance and/or training requirements.
[Added 12-20-2017 by L.L. No. 9-2017]
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have all the powers and duties prescribed by Article 7, § 7-712 of the Village Law and by this chapter, which are more particularly specified as follows, provided that none of the following provisions shall be deemed to limit any power of the Board that is conferred by law.
A. 
Interpretation. On appeal from an order, requirement, decision or determination made by an administrative official, or on request by any official, board or agency of the Village, to decide any of the following questions:
(1) 
The meaning of any portion of the text of this chapter or of any condition or requirement specified or made under the provisions of this chapter.
(2) 
The exact location of any district boundary shown on the Zoning Map.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Zoning Map is on file in the offices of the Building Inspector.
B. 
Variances.
(1) 
On appeal from an order, requirement, decision or determination made by the Building Inspector or on referral of an applicant to the Board by an approving agency acting pursuant to this chapter, the Zoning Board of Appeals is authorized to vary or modify the strict letter of this chapter where its literal interpretation would cause practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships, as defined in this section, in such manner as to observe the spirit of the chapter, to secure public safety and welfare and to do substantial justice.
(2) 
Area variances. Where an applicant requests a variance of the area requirements of this chapter, the Board may grant a variance in the application of the provisions of this chapter in the specific case. In making its determination, the Board shall take into consideration the benefit to the applicant if the variance is granted, as weighed against the detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood or community of such grant. In making its determination the Board shall consider whether:
(a) 
An undesirable change will be produced in the character of the neighborhood or a detriment to nearby properties will be created by the granting of the area variance;
(b) 
The benefit sought by the applicant can be achieved by some method feasible for the applicant to pursue, other than an area variance;
(c) 
The requested area variance is substantial;
(d) 
The proposed variance will have an adverse effect or impact on the physical or environmental conditions in the neighborhood or district;
(e) 
The alleged difficulty was self-created, which consideration shall be relevant to the decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals, but shall not necessarily preclude the granting of the area variance.
(3) 
The Zoning Board of Appeals, in granting area variances, shall grant the minimum variance that it deems necessary and adequate and at the same time preserve and protect the character of the neighborhood and the health, safety and welfare of the community.
(4) 
Use variances. Where, because of unnecessary hardship relating to the land for a use not allowed in the district in which the land is located, an applicant requests a variance of the use requirements of this chapter, the Board may grant a variance in the application of the provisions of this chapter in the specific case, provided that no use variance shall be granted without a showing by the applicant that applicable zoning regulations and restrictions have caused unnecessary hardship to the applicant. In order to prove unnecessary hardship, the applicant shall demonstrate that for each and every permitted use under this chapter for the district in which the applicant's property is located:
(a) 
The applicant cannot realize a reasonable return, provided that lack of return is substantial as demonstrated by competent financial evidence;
(b) 
The alleged hardship relating to the property in question is unique and does not apply to a substantial portion of the district or neighborhood;
(c) 
The requested use variance, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood; and
(d) 
The alleged hardship has not been self-created.
(5) 
The Zoning Board of Appeals, in granting use variances, shall grant the minimum variance that it deems necessary and adequate to address the unnecessary hardship proven by the applicant and at the same time preserve and protect the character of the neighborhood and the health, safety and welfare of the community.
(6) 
The needs or desires of a particular owner or tenant, or of a particular prospective owner or tenant, shall not, either alone or in conjunction with other factors, afford any basis for the granting of a variance. The fact that the improvements already existing at the time of the application are old, obsolete, outmoded or in disrepair or the fact that the property is then unimproved shall not be deemed to make the plight of the property unique or to contribute thereto.
(7) 
Where said Board finds the zoning classification of a particular property to be conducive to the deprivation of the reasonable use of the land or buildings and where said Board finds the same condition to apply generally to other land or buildings in the same neighborhood or zoning district, said Board shall call this condition to the attention of the Village Board.
(8) 
In all cases where the Zoning Board of Appeals grants a variance from the strict application of the requirements of this chapter, it shall be the duty of such Board to attach such conditions and safeguards as may be required in order that the result of its action may be as nearly as possible in accordance with the spirit and intent of this chapter.
(9) 
Appeals. Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals hereunder may, within 30 days of the filing of the decision with the office of the Village Clerk, appeal pursuant to Article 78 of the New York State Civil Practice Laws and Rules.
The powers and duties of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be exercised in accordance with the following procedure and as required by Article 7, § 7-712 of the Village Law:
A. 
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall not decide upon any appeal for a variance or interpretation of this chapter without first holding a public hearing, notice of which hearing, including the substance of the appeal or application, shall be given by publication in the official newspaper of the Village at least 10 days before the date of such hearing. In addition to such published notice, the Board of Appeals shall cause such notice to be mailed at least five days before the hearing to all owners of property which lies adjacent to the property for which relief is sought and to such other owners as the Board of Appeals may deem advisable.
(1) 
The names of said owners shall be taken as they appear on the last completed tax roll of the Village.
(2) 
Provided that due notice shall have been published and that there shall have been substantial compliance with the remaining provisions of this section, the failure to give notice in exact conformance herewith shall not be deemed to invalidate action taken by the Zoning Board of Appeals in connection with the granting of any appeal or variance.
B. 
All appeals and applications made to the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be in writing and shall be accompanied by the required fee payable to the Village of Ossining. Such submission shall be submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals Secretary by the designated deadline as prescribed by the Zoning Board of Appeals. The fee filed in connection with applications shall not be returnable regardless of disposition of the case by the Board.
C. 
Each appeal or application shall fully set forth the circumstances of the case, shall refer to the specific provision of the law involved and shall exactly set forth, as the case may be, the interpretation that is claimed, the details of the variance that is applied for and the grounds on which it is claimed that the same should be granted.
D. 
Transmission of copy of official notice of public hearing.
(1) 
Should any appeal involve any of the following conditions, the Secretary of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall transmit to the designated office or official a copy of the official notice of the public hearing not later than 10 days prior to the date of the hearing.
(a) 
Any change in the boundaries of any district, which change would occur within a distance of 500 feet of the boundary of any village or town.
(b) 
Any change in the regulations or application for a use variance prescribed for any district, any portion of which is located within 500 feet of the boundary of any village or town.
(2) 
The designated official for counties shall be the clerk of the county legislature. In villages and towns, the designated official shall be the clerk of the municipality.
E. 
Prior to the date of any public hearing, the Secretary of the Zoning Board of Appeals may transmit to the Secretary of the Planning Board a copy of any appeal or application, together with a copy of the notice of such hearing. The Planning Board may submit to the Zoning Board of Appeals an advisory opinion on said appeal or application at any time prior to the rendering of a decision by the Board of Appeals.
F. 
Prior to final action, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall refer any matter involving any of the areas in accordance with §§ 277.61 and 277.71 of the Westchester County Administrative Code and §§ 239-l, 239-m and 239-n of the New York State General Municipal Law to the Westchester County Planning Board.
G. 
Every decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be recorded in accordance with standard forms adopted by the Board, shall fully set forth the circumstances of the case, shall contain a full record of the findings on which the decision is based and, if such decision is not in accordance with the recommendation of the Planning Board, the reasons therefor. Every decision of said Board shall be by resolution, and each such resolution shall be filed in the office of the Village.
H. 
The Secretary shall keep minutes of the Board's proceedings showing the vote of each member upon every question or, if absent or failing to vote, indicating such fact. The Secretary shall keep records of the Board's examinations and official actions, all of which shall be immediately filed in the office of the Village Clerk and shall be a public record.
I. 
All provisions of this chapter relating to the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be strictly construed. Said Board, as a body of limited jurisdiction, shall act in full conformity with all provisions of law and of this chapter and in compliance with all limitations contained therein.
J. 
Unless construction is commenced and diligently pursued within six months of the date of the granting of a variance, such variance shall become null and void, unless renewed upon application to the Zoning Board of Appeals.